10 June 2014

Victimization Whack-a-Mole

In the 1982 comedy 'Tootsie,' actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is desperate for work.  A casting director tells him what's wrong:

The reading was fine. You're the wrong height.
I can be taller.
No. We're looking for somebody shorter.
Look. I don't have to be this tall. See, I'm wearing lifts. I can be shorter.
I know, but we're looking for somebody different.
I can be different.
We're looking for somebody else.

Some people, in a word, cannot be satisfied. Trying to please them is like playing whack-a-mole: their dissatisfaction has no remedy. You're sure you've bopped it on the head, but there it pops up again, and then over there, and over there... is there any way to nab it once and for all?

In our blank-slatist world, where all groups are presumed equal, puzzling 'performance gaps' leave some feeling outraged. Rather than shake their fist at Mother Nature (the real source of disparities), they continue to demand action that they are sure will Close the Gap.  When it doesn't, the target changes. Then changes again. And again, and again...  The endless merry-go-round of recriminations and demands is a clue that what they seek cannot be found. Has all logic gone down the mole hole?  Pick up your mallet and follow us...

I. Education

1) 'Black kids must be with white kids'...

School segregation (de jure in the South, de facto in the North) was long seen as a handicap to black student success.  When de-segregation didn't magically bring the races together, a more muscular solution was called for: